The Different Types of Bail

The Different Types of Bail

When an individual is arrested, they are booked, read their charges, and eventually led into a bail hearing where a judge sets bail.

Under U.S. law, all defendants have a right to bail. If the judge deems that the person is a flight risk, or a danger to the community, they can withhold bail and force the defendant to stay in prison throughout the duration of their court case.



There are different types of bail that a judge can invoke, depending on the details of the case. The judge takes all kinds of factors into account when determining bail, including the severity of the charges and the defendant’s criminal history. Lifestyle and scope of responsibilities are also taken into consideration.

The seven types of bail used in the United States are:

•    Recognizance – Someone who is released on their own recognizance, is bound by the court to show up at their court date and refrain from further illegal activity. The judge also sets an amount to be paid if the individual does not comply with these requirements. A signature bond is part of being released on your own recognizance, as you are required to sign a pledge that you promise to appear for your hearing.

•    Citation Release – A citation is issued by the arresting officer at the scene of the crime informing the arrestee that they must appear in court at a certain date.

•    Surety Bond – A surety bond is also known as a bail bond, when a third party pays for, and therefore assumes the responsibility of the defendant.

•    Federal Bail Bond – A federal bail bond is used only in federal cases that are outside of a local or state court's jurisdiction. There is no collateral required, unlike other forms of bail bonds. In this case, the judge requires one or more people who can prove that they can afford to pay the bail amount, to sign an agreement saying that they will pay the full bail if the defendant does not show up at their hearing.

•    Property Bond – In a property bond the accused or someone acting on their behalf, puts up property as collateral against the bail. In cases the property must be valued over twice the amount set for bail.

•    Immigration Bond – When an illegal alien has been arrested an immigration bond may be used. The bond must also be arranged through several Federal offices, not through a state or local court. A bail bondsman needs to be specifically licensed to deal in immigration bonds. Due to all the extra criteria, immigration bonds are usually more expensive. 



•    Cash bail – If the court has doubts that the defendant will show up for their court date and they want added security, the judge might set a cash-only bail. A judge might also use this course of action if a defendant has unpaid fines or fees from previous cases.


Posted by Javi Calderon, on April 18, 2012 at 3:30 PM